The Vodafone Warriors will line up as selected 1-17 in today's 16th-round NRL encounter with the Newcastle Knights at Scully Park in Tamworth (3.00pm kick-off local time, 5.00pm NZT).
Isaiah Papali'i and Paul Turner have been omitted from the squad reduced to 19 last night.
The match has special significance for the Vodafone Warriors as they return to the city which welcomed them in when they quarantined there more than two weeks after arriving from New Zealand on May 3 for the resumption of the 2020 season.
All tickets available for the ‘homecoming’ sold out almost two weeks ago.
For this critical contest, Chanel Harris-Tavita returns after undergoing head injury protocols following a training session collision with teammate Adam Keighran last week while Eliesa Katoa is back after missing the Canterbury Bankstown clash as he served a one-match suspension on a dangerous contact charge.
Harris-Tavita reclaims his halfback’s spot from his stand-in Turner, so impressive on debut as Vodafone Warrior #249 in last Sunday’s 20-14 comeback win over the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. Turner was close to scoring three tries, ran nine times for 72 metres, had a game high seven tackle breaks and made 20 tackles without a miss.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Adam PompeyWinger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'a
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Hayze PerhamCentre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Peta HikuCentre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat Shibasaki
Winger for Warriors is number 5 George JenningsWinger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Chanel Harris-TavitaHalfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-BrownProp for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Karl LawtonHooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt Mann
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Lachlan BurrProp for Knights is number 10 Jacob Saifiti
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz TevagaLock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Wayde EganInterchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Adam BlairInterchange for Knights is number 16 Josh King
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Daniel AlvaroInterchange for Knights is number 17 Pasami Saulo
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack MurchieInterchange for Knights is number 19 Chris Randall
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Gavin Badger
Outstanding rookie second rower Katoa is back in the #11 jersey replacing Papali'i.
The rest of the side named is the same as the one used against the Bulldogs including an unchanged interchange bench of Wayde Egan, Adam Blair, Daniel Alvaro and Jack Murchie, which was so effective last Sunday.
In his 46 minutes on the field, dummy half Egan made 45 metres from four runs and made 27 tackles (no misses); in 40 minutes, Blair gained 108 metres from 12 carries, a line break, two off loads and made 20 tackles (no misses); in 28 minutes, Alvaro returned 89 metres from eight carries and made 26 tackles (two misses); and in his 48 minutes, Murchie provided 73 metres from seven runs and made 32 tackles as well as scoring two tries and producing a wonderful flick pass for Adam Pompey’s try.
The Vodafone Warriors’ third win in their last four matches moved them to 12 points in a share of ninth spot four points out of the top eight with five rounds of the regular season to play.
The performance was also notable for another superb contribution from the team’s back five with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (334 metres from 26 runs), George Jennings (172 from 18), Adam Pompey (170 from 19), Peta Hiku (140 from 16) and Hayze Perham (77 from nine) accounting for almost 900 metres of the team’s total metres gained of 2043.
Second rower Tohu Harris, rookie prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Blair will make their 16th appearances of the season this week, the only players who have played every match. Tuivasa-Sheck and Kodi Nikorima have missed just one each.